May 31, 2013

Doktor, doktor

At most colleges, this is the time of year for graduations. It’s also when senior scholars who worked hard for their first doctorate are recognized for their work with an honorary doctorate. Both Henry Chesbrough (father of open innovation) and Eric von Hippel (father of user innovation) were recognized recently with an additional doctoral degree.

Hasselt University: Henry Chesbrough

For weeks I’ve been getting invitations from my co-author Wim Vanhaverbeke to come see Henry Chesbrough receive his honorary doctorate at Hasselt University in Belgium, one of three schools where Wim has an appointment. (Wim, Henry and I co-edited a 2006 book on Open Innovation, and are now working on a sequel).


On Tuesday (May 28), Henry was one of seven public figures so honored this year, on the school’s 40th anniversary. As the university website explained:
Prof. dr. Henry Chesbrough (Haas School of Management, University of California, VS) is de geestelijke vader van het concept ‘open innovatie’, dat steeds meer ingang vindt bij bedrijven en kennisinstellingen in de vier hoeken van de wereld. Zijn eredoctoraat is een voordracht van de faculteit Bedrijfseconomische wetenschappen.
Google Translate says this means
Prof. Dr. Henry Chesbrough (Haas School of Management, University of California, USA) is the spiritual father of the concept of 'open innovation', that is gaining acceptance among companies and research institutions in the four corners of the world. His honorary degree is a recommendation of the Faculty of Business Economics.
I would have liked to have attended, but between the cost and travel time it wasn’t practical to visit unless I was already nearby for another purpose (which I wasn’t).

However, for the benefit of the rest of the world, Wim arranged for online webcast of the post-graduation Q&A with Henry. Questions were solicited via email, and the discussion was broadcast live (at 345am PDT) via Google+ (whatever that is). A video recording of the 65 minute Q&A is now available at YouTube.

This could be Henry’s first honorary doctorate, but since his official online CV hasn’t been updated since 2008, it’s hard to tell.

Hamburg University of Technology: Eric von Hippel

On April 10, TUHH awarded an honorary doctorate to Eric von Hippel. As the school’s (English-language) web page put it:
The Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) today awarded an honorary doctorate of economics and social science (Dr. rer. pol. h.c.) to Professor Eric von Hippel, PhD, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, U.S. The TUHH awarded the degree in recognition of “his trail-blazing contributions to research on user innovation and his untiring endeavors to assist young scientists on their academic career path,” as the citation put it.

Prof. Hippel, 71, is one of the world’s most renowned academic experts in management and innovation research.
According to his online CV (updated December 2012), this is Eric’s third honorary doctorate, after Ludwig-Maximillians Universität München (2004) and Copenhagen Business School (2007). TUHH says it’s only their sixth honorary doctorate in 35 years.

Apparently this was the big event of the year of the German-speaking innovation community. Several of my friends asked why I wasn’t there, and I’m sure I know at least a dozen people who were listed in attendance.

The website notes that Eric was doctoral supervisor for TUHH PhD students and others have visited MIT to research with him. Speeches on behalf of the honoree were made by Dietmar Harhoff of U. Munich and Cornelius Herstatt and Christian Lüthje of the TUHH.


One thing I had not heard was the full story of his family. Since I’ve studied the MIT EE department, I knew that his late father was once a professor in the department. But the article gave a more complete picture:
Prof. Eric von Hippel comes from a family that has produced many well-known scientists. His father Prof. Arthur R. Hippel held the chair of materials science at the MIT. His mother Dagmar was the daughter of Nobel laureate James Franck. As she was of Jewish extraction the family had to leave Germany in the 1930s. Before it found a new home in Boston, Arthur R. von Hippel worked for several years as a research scientist at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen. Eric von Hippel has four siblings. His younger brother holds the chair of Public and International Affairs at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, his elder brother was Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon, Arndt von Hippel was a heart surgeon at Anchorage University Hospital, Alaska. His sister is a writer.
Photos: Universiteit Hasselt and Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg

May 24, 2013

Open innovation meets strategy in Atlanta

At the Atlanta Competitive Advantage Conference Thursday, the final conference session was a panel entitled “Open Innovation: Multidisciplinary Perspectives and Opportunities for Future Research.”

The economics discipline was represented on the panel by Ashish Arora of Duke, a Carnegie-Mellon grad. (I’m told Ashish is not a regular at ACAC, but CMU was well represented). Org theory was represented by Todd Zenger of Wash. U St. Louis. I guess I represented innovation studies (if that’s a discipline). We spoke in alphabetical order and then engaged in a discussion with the audience, moderated by Henry Sauermann of Georgia Tech.

1. Overview of Open Innovation

I presented an overview of open innovation entitled “Open Innovation: The First Decade.” (My slides are up on SlideShare). Although I started from a previous talk, here I made few assumptions about people’s familiarity with OI. As usual, I started with the official Chesbrough (2006) definition of open innovation, mentioned my own shorthand definition en passim, showed the familiar Chesbrough “funnel” (also from Chesbrough, 2006), and enumerate the citation counts for the various Chesbrough books, including 6,161 for the original book, and 1,230 for our 2006 book.

Then, given the audience and panel, I briefly summarized how OI built upon and extended other innovation studies (adapting the former from an unpublished paper and the latter from Table 1.1 of Chesbrough 2006). Clearly I missed an opportunity to tell a new audience that almost anything they needed to know about open innovation can be gained by reading Chesbrough (2006).

Again, to set the stage, I summarized a comparison of OI and UI from chapter I'm doing with Frank Piller from the next Chesbrough-Vanhaverbeke-West open innovation book, Open Innovation: New Research and Developments. To complete the introduction, I should have shown that not all open source software is open innovation (Figure 5.1 from the 2006 book), to address the questions and comments I heard in the hallway during the conference.

The rest of the talk focused on the three OI modes ("core processes") defined by Gassmann & Enkel (2004) — inbound, outbound and coupled. Most of the remaining talk summarized the forthcoming West & Bogers review of inbound (and coupled) open innovation. For the presentation, I converted Table 3 of our paper (summarizing our corpus of 165 papers) into a Venn Diagram, which was much easier even for me to make sense of. The rest of the inbound discussion briefly summarized that paper.

For outbound, it was much harder. The majority of the 12 retracted Lichtenthaler papers are about outbound IP licensing or other similar processes, leaving a major void. (Perhaps some doctoral students will fill this void). As for coupled, there’s also a void, but one I’m hoping to help fill soon, both through the chapter with Frank Piller and another chapter under preparation for journal submission.

Henry Sauermann, Todd Zenger, Joel West and Ashish Arora.
Photo by Phillip C. Anderson (U. Illinois)
2. Historical Context

In Ashish Arora’s presentation on his work related to open innovation, one of the major themes was the historical context. We found ourselves agreeing (and presumably with Dick Langlois as well) that the vertically integrated Chandlerian model may have just been a temporary blip of the 20th century.

Similarly, Todd Zenger laid out three phases of organizational research. In the 20th century, the M-form was prevalent for the first 75 years, while an interest in networks (such as the Japanese production networks) arose in the last 20 years. In the 21st century, scholars have developed an interest in open innovation, user innovation, contests, communities and other related phenomena.

To estimate the magnitude of licensing revenues in the US, Ashish pointed to the research of Carol Robbins, of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. I believe he was referring to Robbins (2009), and plan to study that further.

In response to a question, Ashish suggested that the motivation of (inbound) OI was the failure of the internal R&D business model — starting in the 1980s — when firms discovered that their industrial R&D labs were not producing the desired returns. In agreement, I noted the recent tendency of firms to use open innovation as an excuse (or fig leaf) for cutting their internal research labs.

Todd and I also both argued that there’s an organizational innovation that was adopted by early firms and copied by other firms. For example, IP-based business models 20 years ago were exemplified by Dolby, but now we have Arm, Gore and Qualcomm.

3. When Does OI Work?

Both Ashish and Todd have been involved in our special issue of Research Policy on open innovation. Ashish is the lead editor monitoring the process for RP — and thus has seen all the submissions — while Todd was an active participant at the special issue conference that we held last summer at Imperial College London.

Both voiced similar criticisms of the open innovation research to date. Both said we don’t need more research that says open innovation is “cool”, “good” or “common” research. Ashish is also getting tired of open source research.

Some areas were more contentious. Ashish thinks the substitution of internal and external research is a settled issue, but not everyone in the audience agrees. (As Marcel & I noted in our review, we think there’s at least one more U-shape OI model to be tested — use of inbound OI can reduce the need for internal R&D capabilities but only up to the point of losing absorptive capacity).

Both Ashish and Todd wanted to know both under what conditions do firms adopt OI, and under what conditions is it a better choice. Testing the performance of OI strategies doesn’t address the endogeneity of which firms chose OI: under some conditions, OI is probably suboptimal but we won’t see that if we only test OI under conditions where firms thought it would be optimal. As an example, Ashish mentioned Mueller 1962, which showed that that the profitability of Dupont’s internally developed and externally sourced technologies was identical, a result that puzzled Ken Arrow.

We had a very interesting comment from one participant (who I was later told was Gordon Walker) who described his work with Xerox more than a decade ago. The company had a very realistic, nuanced and theoretically sound strategy for sourcing software, but it still failed. Both Todd and I wondered whether that was just because it was Xerox (who had trouble doing anything right during this period), and I also noted that most hardware companies during this period (cf. Motorola, Nokia) failed to recognize that software was a core capability rather than something that should be outsourced.

In my talk, I quoted Kathy Eisenhardt’s luncheon speech Wednesday about the need for higher level abstractions, urging scholars to do more to abstract what we know about open innovation to broader theories. I noted I am perhaps more guilty than of staying at the level of the phenomenon.

As it turns out, such abstraction was the focus of Todd Zenger’s talk, which followed mine.

4. Problem Perspective

Not surprisingly, the major emphasis of Todd’s talk built upon his efforts over the past 10 years to develop a problem-based view of the firm (e.g., Nickerson and Zenger, 2004).

He argued that when firms making a sourcing decision, the level of the firm is too general, the level of the innovation is unknowable a priori (until the innovation is selected), and thus the proper unit of analysis is the problem. Todd then presented an updated version of last summer's paper on applying problem-based view to the firm choice of open innovation strategies.

In the latest paper, Teppo Fellin and Zenger (2012) use a model of communication cost and problem complexity predict that the external sources will be used when a large amount of the knowledge that a firm needs is both outside the firm and not easily identified. In such cases, the “hidden” knowledge is self-revealed by those who have it.

Todd presented Table 3 from the paper, and below is my interpretation of that table with the inbound OI strategies shown in bold:

Problem Complexity
High Moderate Low
Hidden Knowledge High (User) Community Partnership or Alliance Contests or Platforms
Low Consensus-based hierarchy Authority-based hierarchy Contract via market

In the follow up, Joe Mahoney noted the link of the problem-solving view to Herb Simon-style decomposability. At the same time, he argued that the Zenger formulation should (as advised by Milgrom & Roberts) treat separately the coordination and incentive problems. (Zenger expressed doubts that the two are distinct).

At the same time, Ashish expressed skepticism firms could switch their sourcing strategies for each problem, due to the inertia [presumably associated with their structure and capabilities]. Instead, he suggested: “I would argue that they would pick the problems to match their capabilities.”

5. New Research

A doctoral student asked whether OI could be studied in the context of disruptive innovation. I believe it’s an open empirical question whether OI is more or less common for disruptive, radical or incremental innovations — something worth studying. However, my suspicion is that over the past 20 years (perhaps since the R&D cutbacks identified by Ashish) the more radical innovations have been coming from outside. For example, Google bought Android from outside — and, as Ashish noted, also YouTube and Google Glass.

For me, the most novel* OI insight was one slide in Ashish’s talk, about the research of his doctoral student, Luis Rios. The slide summarized Rios’ analysis of the sourcing and IP strategies for a highly visible radical innovation, Google Glass. In response to an email, Rios summarized the story as follow.
Google Glass incorporates quite possibly the entire spectrum of inbound technology, including acquired IP, in-licensed IP, outsourced IP, as well as internally developed technologies. But at the hub of this revolutionary and complex technology seems to be a figure that we will likely hear more about in the coming years: Neven Hartmut, who came to Google (along with his patents) as part of the deal when he sold his eponymous Neven Vision, Inc in 2006.
I look forward to reading Rios’ work in progress, “On the genealogy of knowledge,” when it becomes available for wider distribution. It could provide important evidence about make and buy (rather than make vs. buy) strategies being used to create complex assembled products.

* I should note that I wrote my own speech, heard parts of Ashish’s talk at UC Berkeley in March, and an earlier version of Zenger’s talk last July

Conclusions

The 75-minute format, the audience (about 45 people) and the panel made for a lively discussion. I heard from a number of people that they better understood the issues of open innovation from my intro and the discussion. I certainly gained additional insights, both from fellow panelists and the sorts of questions and concerns of the audience.

References

Felin, Teppo and Zenger, Todd R. 2012. Open and Closed Innovation, Problem Solving and Governance Choice (October 4). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2156951

Mueller, Willard F. 1962. "The Origins of the Basic Inventions Underlying Du Pont," in the Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, p. 323 - 358, URL: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c2125

Nickerson, Jack A. and Zenger, Todd R. 2004. “A Knowledge-based Theory of the Firm - A Problem-solving Perspective” Organization Science, 15 (6): 617-632, DOI: 10.1287/orsc.1040.0093

Robbins, Carol A. 2009. in “Measuring Payments for the Supply and Use of Intellectual Property,” in Marshall Reinsdorf and Matthew J. Slaughter, editors, International Trade in Services and Intangibles in the Era of Globalization, University of Chicago Press, URL: http://www.nber.org/chapters/c11608

May 21, 2013

ICC makes 12

Today, Industrial and Corporate Change announced its retraction of a December 2010 article by Ulrich Licthenthaler:


Notice of retraction: Outward knowledge transfer: the impact of project-based organization on performance

  1. Ulrich Lichtenthaler*
  1. *Ulrich Lichtenthaler, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, Technology and Innovation Management, Burgplatz 2; D-56179 Vallendar; Germany. e-mail: lichtenthaler@whu.edu

Abstract

This article has been retracted by the journal's Editors, Oxford University Press, and the author. The article has been retracted because of statistical irregularities and because of incomplete citation to other work by the author. The retraction follows an investigation by the Editors, during the course of which the author proactively contacted the Editors concerning the statistical irregularities.


With 11 previous retractions, this makes 12 for Ulrich Lichtenthaler (not counting 2 JPIM papers withdrawn after acceptance but prior to online publication).

Bibliography

The full list of Licthtenthaler (or Holger Ernst) retracted papers (not including the three withdrawn papers):
  1. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Holger Ernst (2009). “Technology licensing strategies: the interaction of process and content characteristics,” Strategic Organization, 7 (2): 183-221. doi:10.1177/1476127009102672 (Retracted by the authors and editor, June 2012)
  2. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2009). “The role of corporate technology strategy and patent portfolios in low-, medium- and high-technology firms,” Research Policy, 38 (3): 559-569. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2008.10.009 (Retracted by the editors, July 2012)
  3. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2010). “Determinants of proactive and reactive technology licensing: A contingency perspective,” Research Policy, 39 (1): 55-66. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2009.11.011 (Retracted by the editors, July 2012)
  4. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Holger Ernst (2012). “Integrated knowledge exploitation: The complementarity of product development and technology licensing,” Strategic Management Journal, 33 (5): 513-534. doi: 10.1002/smj.1951 (Retracted by the authors, August 2012)
  5. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2009). “Product business, foreign direct investment, and licensing: Examining their relationships in international technology exploitation,” Journal of World Business, 44 (4): 407-420. doi: 10.1016/j.jwb.2009.01.003 (Retracted by the editor and author, August 2012)
  6. Ernst, Holger, Ulrich Lichtenthaler & Carsten Vogt (2011). “The Impact of Accumulating and Reactivating Technological Experience on R & D Alliance Performance,” Journal of Management Studies, 48 (6): 1194-1216. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2010.00994.x (Retracted by the authors, editors and publisher, August 2012)
  7. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Holger Ernst & Martin Hoegl (2010). “Not-Sold-Here: How Attitudes Influence External Knowledge Exploitation,” Organization Science, 21 (5): 1054-1071. 10.1287/orsc.1090.0499 (Retracted by the editors, November 2012)
  8. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2008). “Externally commercializing technology assets: An examination of different process stages,” Journal of Business Venturing, 23 (4): 445-464. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2007.06.002 (Retracted by the editor and author, November 2012)
  9. Holger Ernst, James G. Conley, Nils Omland (2012). “How to create commercial value from patents: The role of patent management,” Research Policy, published online 21 May 2012. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.04.012 (Retracted by the authors and editor prior to print publication, February 2013)
  10. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Eckhard Lichtenthaler & Johan Frishammar (2009). “Technology commercialization intelligence: Organizational antecedents and performance consequences,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 76 (3): 301-315. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2008.07.002 (Retracted at the request of the authors, March 2013)
  11. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Johan Frishammar (2011). “The Impact of Aligning Product Development and Technology Licensing: A Contingency Perspective,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28 (S1): 89-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00863.x (Retracted by the authors, editor and publishers, May 2013)
  12. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2012). “The Performance Implications of Dynamic Capabilities: The Case of Product Innovation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, published online 12 June 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2012.00957.x (Retracted by the author, editor and publisher prior to print publication, May 2013; originally published online with Holger Ernst as co-author)
  13. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2010). “Outward knowledge transfer: the impact of project-based organization on performance,” Industrial & Corporate Change, 19 (6): 1705-1739, doi: 10.1093/icc/dtq041 (Retracted by the editors, publishers and author after an investigation by the editors, May 2013)

May 19, 2013

Academic dishonesty investigation to end next month?

Last week, WHU in Germany issued a press release in English:
Allegations of Academic Dishonesty against Professor Ulrich Lichtenthaler – Investigations Expected to Come to a Close at the End of June

Vallendar, May 13, 2013. Allegations of academic misconduct have been raised against Professor Ulrich Lichtenthaler since June 2012. Ulrich Lichtenthaler holds the Chair for Management and Organization at the University of Mannheim. He completed both his doctoral dissertation and his habilitation at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, the latter in 2010. As the allegations also pertain to academic works completed during Lichtenthaler’s time at WHU, the charges are being thoroughly investigated. “The examination of the allegations has taken more time than we had originally anticipated,” said Professor Michael Frenkel, Dean of WHU. According to Frenkel, this is due to both the complexity of the allegations and the amount of material to be examined. For an exhaustive investigation, however, thoroughness is more important than speed. “We cannot and do not want to anticipate the work and results of the external examiners and the Commission for the Safeguarding of Good Academic Practice, but we can now expect to be able to announce the results of the investigation at the end of June,” said Dean Frenkel. “The principles of good academic practice are foundational for WHU and we will do everything to ensure that the allegations are cleared up completely. For the sake of public confidence in the sciences, it is crucial to deal with such allegations carefully and to ensure transparency in the process – that’s why we want to provide information about the current status,” said Dean Frenkel.

Investigative Procedure 

Immediately after the allegations became known in Summer 2012, the Dean arranged to have external examiners brought to WHU to complete an independent and neutral assessment of the allegations against Prof. Dr. Ulrich Lichtenthaler. The results of the external evaluation will be considered in the formal examination proceedings of the Commission for the Safeguarding of Good Academic Practice, which began its work in December 2012 on the basis of a first preliminary report from the external examiners. The Commission anticipates being able to deliver its final report to the Dean by the end of June this year. Depending on the contents of the report of the Commission, further steps will be taken. The Dean hopes that any necessary decisions can be made swiftly at that point. The procedure is based on the principles and rules of procedure for handling academic misconduct.
This parallels what was said March 28 in German.

May 12, 2013

Explaining creativity

Today’s Dilbert cartoon by Scott Adams:



I think this nicely captures the difficulties we have separating the correlational from causal explanations of creativity. There are probably deeper implications, but —as always with Dilbert — that is likely over-analyzing a mere cartoon.

May 6, 2013

Lichtenthaler and Ernst together lose five JPIM articles

Updated May 7, 2013 with corrections from JPIM.

The two long-rumored Lichtenthaler-Ernst retractions have finally been announced in the Journal of Product Innovation Management. In addition to these retractions, I have confirmed that three accepted (but not yet published) articles were withdrawn by the authors.

1. Retracted Articles

Two articles were retracted:
  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Johan Frishammar (2011). “The Impact of Aligning Product Development and Technology Licensing: A Contingency Perspective,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28 (S1): 89-103. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00863.x (Retracted May 2013)
  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (forthcoming). “The Performance Implications of Dynamic Capabilities: The Case of Product Innovation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2012.00957.x (Retracted May 2013)
The notice for the former says:
The following article … has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor-in-Chief, the Product Development and Management Association, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed to due to inconsistencies in the empirical results. Prof. Dr. Lichtenthaler has indicated that Prof. Frishammar was not responsible for any of the statistical analyses in the article and Prof. Dr. Lichtenthaler accepts sole responsibility for this article being retracted.
The retraction notice for the latter says:
The following article from Journal of Product Innovation Management, The Performance Implications of Dynamic Capabilities: The Case of Product Innovation by Ulrich Lichtenthaler, published online in EarlyView in June 2012 in Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), has been retracted by agreement between the authors, the journal Editor-in-Chief, the Product Development and Management Association, and Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The retraction has been agreed to due to inconsistencies between construct names assigned to sets of measure items across various articles using data from the same sample for different purposes.
One of my readers noted that the latter point — “inconsistencies between construct names assigned to sets of measure items” — is the first time any journal identified this particular form of misconduct.

The current editor of JPIM, Gloria Barczak, wrote in an introductory editorial for JPIM’s May 2013 issue:
Given the retraction notice posted in this issue, it seems appropriate to discuss the issue of academic research misconduct. Research misconduct has been defined as: “any deliberate conduct that goes against the more or less explicit ethical rules that a community of researchers has agreed on at a specific point in time concerning the behavior to adopt when preparing or publishing the results of a research project” (Cossette, 2004, p. 215). The most common violations by authors appear to be plagiarism/self-plagiarism, fabricated data, and falsification of data (Cossette, 2004).

It is my belief that most authors, reviewers, and editors are honest and committed to doing high-quality research in an ethical manner. However, we must all take responsibility for ensuring the integrity of academic research particularly in our field of innovation management.
In her column, she listed three steps that JPIM was doing to minimize the chance (or impact) of such problems: 1) Wiley’s participation in the Committee on Publication Ethics, 2) required questions asked of all submitting authors; and 3) a “Publications Committee” of the Product Development & Management Association that “will investigate any cases of misconduct that are brought forward.” She encouraged readers to imediately notify the editor if they suspect any errors or misconduct.

These retractions have been long-awaited, in part because Lichtenthaler had three published (plus the one forthcoming) article in JPIM and none had yet been retracted. In December, the Lichtenthaler & Frishammar article was one of three I predicted might be retracted because it was similar to the retracted Strategic Management Journal article. The other article was suspect, because since last summer Ernst was dropped as a co-author of the article and the PDF contained the following footnote:
Holger Ernst has been removed from the author list as of 13 August 2012. Because of existing and significant statistical errors in other published papers involving the first author, the second author has expressly requested the journal to remove his name from the paper.
Not retracted was a 2009 Licthenthaler & Ernst article that in December I considered among 12 Licensing Executives Survey articles highly likely for retraction. (One of these 12, a 2009 article in Technological Forecasting and Social Change, was retracted in March.)

In March, I wrote a blog posting based on a secondhand report of the planned retractions, but had to withdraw the posting when I was unable to confirm it with JPIM.

The May issue went online last month with Prof. Barczak’s editorial on academic misconduct, but did not list the retractions. On April 26, I contacted Wiley to notify them of the omission, and two of my European correspondents e-mailed me this morning to notify me of the retractions being posted today to Wiley.com.

May 7 update: The JPIM retractions come almost a year after the first Lichtenthaler retraction last summer. Why the delay? In an e-mail, Anthony Di Benedetto (editor of JPIM through Dec 2012) wrote:
The PDMA Publications Committee convened in early January and commissioned its own study of four JPIM papers authored or co-authored by Lichtenthaler for both content and statistical analysis. This process took time but was necessary because of the number of Lichtenthaler articles in JPIM that potentially could be affected.  After careful deliberation, these were the two Lichtenthaler articles that were retracted.
2. Withdrawn Articles

While these are the only retractions at JPIM, in correspondence I confirmed that three other articles were “withdrawn” last year by Lichtenthaler and Ernst after they were accepted but before they were published online:
  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Holger Ernst and Wayne D. Hoyer, “Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: The Value of Technology and Market Orientation for Open Innovation.”
  • Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Holger Ernst and Eckhard Lichtenthaler, “Desorptive Capacity: A Capability-Based Perspective on Commercializing Knowledge Assets.”
  • Ernst, Holger, “Corporate Culture and Innovative Performance – The Moderating Effect of Technological Turbulence.”
In an email exchange last month with former JPIM editor Anthony Di Benedetto, I confirmed that the first two articles were withdrawn last summer, and the third withdrawn later in 2012.

Apparently Dr. Ernst (of WHU) knew about the withdrawal of the first two articles last August. After Licthenthaler’s first three retractions last summer, an anonymous contributor commented on a blog posting at Retraction Watch:
http://www.whu.edu/forschung/forschung-an-der-whu/publikationen/

Also mysterious:

The WHU publication page lists two more articles within Journal of Product Innovation Management as forthcoming. But they do not apear online anymore. It seams that two more papers got retracted…

Lichtenthaler, U., Ernst, H., Hoyer, W.: Determinants of Absorptive Capacity: The Value of Technology and Market Orientation for Open Innovation, Journal of Product Innovation Management (forthcoming)

Lichtenthaler, U., Ernst, H., Lichtenthaler, E. Desorptive Capacity: A Capability-Based Perspective on Commercializing Knowledge Assets, Journal of Product Innovation Management (forthcoming)
The third withdrawn paper seems (by its title) to be an update to a 2001 PICMET conference paper by Hogler Ernst.

I am not aware of “withdrawn” articles at any other journal: in this case “withdrawn” by authors differs from “retraction” by the authors at other journals, in that the articles were not publicly announced by the journal as being accepted. The large number of withdrawn articles appears to be related to JPIM’s long lead time (a year or more) between acceptance and online publication.

Conclusions

If we count only retractions, the new score is Lichtenthaler 11, Ernst 5. But if we count withdrawals, it’s now Lichtenthaler 13, Ernst 8. However, these statistics are somewhat misleading: Ernst was co-author on the dynamic capabilities paper when it was submitted, when it was accepted and when it was published online — which would make the score 11-6 (or 13-9).

Beyond Licthenthaler and Ernst, these latest retractions and withdrawals have involved three (possibly unwitting) co-conspirators:
  • Eckhard Lichtenthaler is (according to Wikipedia) Ulrich’s brother, who did his PhD at ETH Zürich and apparently worked there until 2009 (but not any more). He’s still listed as editor in chief of the International Journal of Technology Intelligence and Planning.
  • Johann Frishammar is a full professor in the Department of Business Administration at the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden. Like Eckhard Lichtenthaler, he was also a co-author on the retracted Technological Forecasting and Social Change article.
  • Wayne Hoyer is chair of the marketing department at the McCombs School of Business at UT Austin. As far as I can tell, the withdrawn article is the only one that he ever co-authored with Ulrich Litchtenthaler.
Bibliography

The full list of retracted papers (not including the three withdrawn papers):
  1. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Holger Ernst (2009). “Technology licensing strategies: the interaction of process and content characteristics,” Strategic Organization, 7 (2): 183-221. doi:10.1177/1476127009102672 (Retracted by the authors and editor, June 2012)
  2. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2009). “The role of corporate technology strategy and patent portfolios in low-, medium- and high-technology firms,” Research Policy, 38 (3): 559-569. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2008.10.009 (Retracted by the editors, July 2012)
  3. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2010). “Determinants of proactive and reactive technology licensing: A contingency perspective,” Research Policy, 39 (1): 55-66. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2009.11.011 (Retracted by the editors, July 2012)
  4. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Holger Ernst (2012). “Integrated knowledge exploitation: The complementarity of product development and technology licensing,” Strategic Management Journal, 33 (5): 513-534. doi: 10.1002/smj.1951 (Retracted by the authors, August 2012)
  5. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2009). “Product business, foreign direct investment, and licensing: Examining their relationships in international technology exploitation,” Journal of World Business, 44 (4): 407-420. doi: 10.1016/j.jwb.2009.01.003 (Retracted by the editor and author, August 2012)
  6. Ernst, Holger, Ulrich Lichtenthaler & Carsten Vogt (2011). “The Impact of Accumulating and Reactivating Technological Experience on R & D Alliance Performance,” Journal of Management Studies, 48 (6): 1194-1216. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6486.2010.00994.x (Retracted by the authors, editors and publisher, August 2012)
  7. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Holger Ernst & Martin Hoegl (2010). “Not-Sold-Here: How Attitudes Influence External Knowledge Exploitation,” Organization Science, 21 (5): 1054-1071. 10.1287/orsc.1090.0499 (Retracted by the editors, November 2012)
  8. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2008). “Externally commercializing technology assets: An examination of different process stages,” Journal of Business Venturing, 23 (4): 445-464. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusvent.2007.06.002 (Retracted by the editor and author, November 2012)
  9. Holger Ernst, James G. Conley, Nils Omland (2012). “How to create commercial value from patents: The role of patent management,” Research Policy, published online 21 May 2012. doi: 10.1016/j.respol.2012.04.012 (Retracted by the authors and editor prior to print publication, February 2013)
  10. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich, Eckhard Lichtenthaler & Johan Frishammar (2009). “Technology commercialization intelligence: Organizational antecedents and performance consequences,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 76 (3): 301-315. doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2008.07.002 (Retracted at the request of the authors, March 2013)
  11. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich & Johan Frishammar (2011). “The Impact of Aligning Product Development and Technology Licensing: A Contingency Perspective,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, 28 (S1): 89-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2011.00863.x (Retracted by the authors, editor and publishers, May 2013)
  12. Lichtenthaler, Ulrich (2012). “The Performance Implications of Dynamic Capabilities: The Case of Product Innovation,” Journal of Product Innovation Management, published online 12 June 2012. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5885.2012.00957.x (Retracted by the author, editor and publishers prior to print publication, May 2013; originally published online with Holger Ernst as co-author)